Christmas

For one reason or another many of us are going to be doing the festive meal on a severely restricted budget. I just want to share with you what we will be doing this year.

This year has seen many changes within my household. at the beginning of the year I gave up work to start my own leather working business and in April saw the birth of my first grandchild. A lovely little boy called Ethan Zeus.

So this festive time is very short on cash but large on love. We are holding the meal at my daughter’s as its Ethan’s first.  she wants him to experience it from a home environment.

However, their budget is a tight as ours and they are kitted out very frugally. There will be 7 of us for dinner and they have only 4 of everything. LOL So grandad senior is bringing extra chairs and bread sauce. I am providing the meat for the meat eaters, extra plates, serving dishes and cutlery. Eldest is providing crackers, Youngest is providing veg, nut roast for the veggies amongst us and christmas pud and accompliments.

Christmas morning will see us cooking up a feast together and enjoying each others company and drinking mulled wine. There will probably be singing too. 🙂

Tomorrow, Christmas Eve will see me cooking up the meat and making the gravy and stuffing that go with it. To make it extra special I will be using items I have put up throughout the year from the plot and garden. Eg., plum sauce, herbs, chutneys and jams.

Tonight, in view of the mega calories and meat feast that will happen over the next couple of days, i am cooking up a veg plot rissotto courtesy of the freezer. A wonderful addition to my preserving capabilities. I am going to enjoy broad beans, courgette and runners totally out of season.

Wishing you all a very merry festive season and hope the new Year brings you every joy.  See you on the flip side.

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June 2014

I’ve been a bit remiss on not posting. The plot is still working. I have a new three sisters bed going – slugs allowing. I’ve also got 2 huge fruit beds, a huge herb bed that needs trimming back and loads of veg going. This morning I’ve repotted celery that I have in the poly and potted up some more tomatoes to take to the plot. My dwarf french beans just need hardening off now before they go down and yesterday I sewed more broad beans. Photos will be posted as soon as I have taken some.

In other news – We have started up our own business – Jackdawe Leather Craft. This has taken up much of my time hence the non posts. You can check out our work on our facebook page. 

 

 

The love of Gaia.

There is something uniquely satisfying about growing your own or creating something from scratch using raw materials. Be it a cake from scratch or putting together a meal grown entirely from your own endeavours. You can truly say ‘I made that’. 

I think my favourite moment when I harvest – and I’ve probably said this before – is digging potatoes. Going along the rows and digging into the soft earth to reveal treasure. It gives a true meaning to God’s Bounty. I fully appreciate the old rituals that go to blessing the earth in Spring and those at Harvest. We are at the mercy of the elements and anything that will pacify and provide a good bounty is worthy of adherence. Whilst popping my broad beans from their jackets today I marvelled at the wonder of the Earth and her beneficence. 🙂

Gardening is a path to God and you learn to appreciate every living creature has a part to play. You learn to accept failure, perseverance and eventually revel in success. You learn discernment, strategy and ultimately to trust in Her. Because otherwise we would just be diggers in the dirt. 

Every year She brings me new challenges and learning curves. Can’t wait to embrace slugs and snails though. They are the bane of my beans at the moment. 😉

Love and light.

 

Squash, beans and sprouts – summer is here…

I know I’ve been so very lax with updating recently but in my defence we have been so busy in the plot – what with everything catching up – its been a bit manic.

I’ve had trouble getting my runners started – duff seeds. I planted two wigwams – one of scarlet emperor and one of white lady. The white lady seeds just would not germinate – whether I had sown them in the poly or direct to earth. It was very frustrating and I had thought at one point that I would’nt have runners this year. Horror of horrors!!!! However, as you will see in the photos – the Gods have taught me patience and perseverance. (For the benefit of any US readers runners = pole beans.)

Also the courgette and corn plants are benefitting from the fish heads and guts we trenched in earlier in the year.

Without further ado here are the photos I took Wednesday.

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🙂

Weather or not….

The most recent of the met office special workshops was to look at the change in British weather and the fact that since 2007 we have been experiencing wetter summers. Well – hallelujah – welcome to my world and everyone else’s that just knew that our weather was getting weird. Its nice to be proven correct and not slightly insane.

25 bods of repute and intelligence met at this workshop and their brief was to look at the weather patterns and potential causes in three specific events; the cold winter of 2010/11, the wet summer of 21012 and the cold spring of 2013.

Read what the Met office have to say here:-

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/news/releases/archive/2013/meeting-unusual-seasons

Personally I think this tells us nothing that we didn’t already know or could put together ourselves. Even with my limit knowledge I knew it was the jet stream and the fact that the gulfstream is slowing. Reports have it that the GS has been slowing since 1950 but with the amount of Arctic ice flowing into the system just recently I can only imagine how this is shaking things up. 0.0

The problem with weather and oceanic science; there is a lot of conflicting opinions out there. I’ve only looked at science and research information – not conspiracy sites – and they  are as cohesive and united as a bag of cats.

I can appreciate that accurate climate models are a tricky thing to achieve, what with the jet stream, gulf stream, planet rotation, sun cycle, co2 emissions  during the industrial age and beyond – not to mention the nuclear age and successive wars we’ve had to endure. And then you have to include the volatility of the very earth itself with earthquakes and volcanoes – both of which affect the planets climate. Whats that saying – ‘a butterfly flaps its wings on one side of the earth and a hurricane happens on the other?’

I’ve added some links for perusal.

http://ec.europa.eu/research/rtdinfo/special_pol/04/print_article_2603_en.html

http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/res/div/ocp/gs/

http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nature-online/environmental-change/climate-impacts/ocean-currents/

The links are a snap shot of whats out there.

I do know that Britain’s weather has always been slightly unpredictable – just looking through my book of weather for the last century has proven this and if you remember your history lessons or have done any research into this area you will know that we experienced a mini ice age spanning the 16th to 19th centuries. That will be from where we get all those idyllic Christmas card scenes from. Cosy huh? Unless you are poor, fuel and food deficient. Then I can imagine it to be quite un-idyllic.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Ice_Age

Anyways – food for thought. Am thinking that aquaponics and rice farming might be something to look into. 😉

 

The Bones of a Castle

When you think of castles there can only be one that evokes the haunting majesty of a fallen hero and that castle is Corfe. It rises like an orthodontist’s nightmare amongst the gums of the Purbeck Hills.  Corfe is actually an Old English word describing the break between hills and subsequent millennia have scribed the hill that the Castle stands upon. It was a Saxon stronghold way before King John made it his treasury and caused most of its infamy and centuries before the Bank’s family held it and saw its final death throws in the Civil War.

As Arthur Mee says in his book ‘Dorset’ – ‘It dominated this place about a thousand years ago and it dominates it still, a ruin but majestic, high over all, shattered by shell and battered by time, yet still defiant of time and violence, an enduring monument of resistance, a page of rude history  that thrusts itself on human notice.’

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For a pretty Dorset village this castle was the scene of some of the most violent scenes in history, from the incarceration of political prisoners in King John’s time to the violence of the Cilvil War and the ultimate betrayal of the castle.  Now it stands atop its hill, a reminder of our turbulent past and a message to the future. It says to me that times are always a changing – nothing ever stands still. We as a human race don’t react well to stagnation – change either comes willingly with great scientific breakthroughs or with the violence of wars – but change will come, it will not be stopped.

Without change we cannot evolve – cannot better ourselves – cannot step away from the animal within and become the being we are destined to be. Ultimately we must change – otherwise we and the planet are doomed.

Before and after …

Trawling through photos of the garden I was amazed at how it had changed over the years. So I thought I’d post some pics of how it used to look just before I put up the poly tunnel.

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Brand spanking new Poly

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First year’s growing season.

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Dirt glorious Dirt

For want of anything better to do I thought I’d share a picture of my compost – home grown so to speak. *grin*

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Glorious isn’t it!

Snail hurling, cats and toms.

First thing this morning has seen me potting up my 4 remaining sweetcorn plants – those that the snails didn’t want. I have found that snail hurling is not only a frustration buster and theraputic but serves as good entertainment for the cats. 😉

I am currently sat in the garden listening to the blackbirds sing and the magpies chatter. Its quite cloudy and I might have to do a mad dash to the kitchen with the laptop if it starts to rain – but at the moment its quite pleasant and peaceful.

The poly is now ready for the tomato and pepper plants.

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As you can see I’ve laid the pots out and inserted the supports into the pot and through the earth below. I will then fill with compost and plant the toms and peppers into them. The back row with supports is for the toms and the front for peppers.

The one learning curve with growing in the poly is keeping the earth in the bed fertile. As its an enclosed space it is depleted each growing season and if you are not careful becomes a hard compacted desert really quickly. This is where the compost bin comes into its own. Every autumn/winter I empty all pots of compost from the growing season into the poly and top up with compost from the bins. I also empty kitchen waste directly onto it during the winter and if I have any fish I dispose of the guts and heads into it as well. Obviously I dig a hole and bury them – could you imagine the hoard of cats I’d have or the complaints from the neighbours if I didn’t.  O.O

Talking of cats – here’s one of Pwka on the shed roof.

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And one of Elliott in the poly – he’s a bit miffed with me as I’ve taken the fig tree out of the poly and put it in the garden – so he doesn’t have his pot to curl up in. Poor boy.

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Best get back to the garden now. 🙂

The number of the Plot…

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We are fighting a rear guard action with the grass and weeds but the beans are a little slow to take off.

On the bright side we are promised a good crop of currants and gooseberries.

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Just a few maintenance issues to clear up – like replacing some of the rotting bed dividers and paths – and of course dealing with the couch grass. Other than that its just weeding and getting the plants in.

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Herb beds are doing well though! 😉

 

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